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Striving for healthier youth

Published (3/7/2008)
By Thomas Hammell
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A bill approved March 4 by the House E-12 Education Committee takes direct aim at childhood obesity.

Rep. Diane Loeffler (DFL-Mpls), who sponsors HF3390, said prevention is the easiest and most cost-effective way to lower health care costs over time.

The bill would add nutrition education to the list of subject areas required by schools; require the education and health commissioners to establish and implement a Body Mass Index monitoring system in schools; and establish a task force which would set statewide curriculum in this area.

Charlie Kyte, executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, said he could not tell from the bill if it would mandate BMI checks.

Whats happening, its leaving our schools and our teachers again as a prime target for parents who dont think we should be doing that stuff, he said.

Karen Klinzing, assistant commissioner of the Department of Education, raised concerns about adding an additional subject area and sharing the information between departments.

We have not really solved those problems just with reading and math and I cant imagine, trying to examine the scope, trying to deal with other agencies and other jurisdictions, she said.

The bill was sent to the House Finance Committee with the recommendation that it be referred to the House K-12 Finance Division. There is no Senate companion.

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